Last Words of the King of Summer

King of Summer sunflower with crownThis is the poem that won me the honor of the 2012 Poet Laureate title in the Elf Circle group in the virtual world of Second Life. Every year the 1,900 members choose their Poet Laureate by voting their favorite poems in a Bardic Competition, as in the days of old. This poem was inspired by a dying sunflower I saw bowing at the end of autumn to approaching winter.


LAST WORDS OF THE KING OF SUMMER
By Bay Sweetwater

I come upon the King of Summer, sitting
brokenhearted in a mossy glen; his nose
is buried in the scent still lingering
in petals of his kingdom’s final rose.

His robe threadbare; his hair a nest of gray,
His flask of honeysuckle nectar dry,
He lifts a weary hand to steady his crown —
Too late; the whirling west wind whips it high.

Tracking it with saddened eyes, he glimpses
His glorious and storied castle in flames;
Swords of red and orange flash cruelly bright;
Advancing Autumn’s army lays its claim.

His crown, his home, his keep and kingdom gone,
His heart gives out amid that golden haze,
But his last words confess a faith undying:
“I’ll reign again o’er endless summer days.”

When fall is done and snows begin to dream,
When only misty spectrals meet my gaze,
I take heart to hear his echo in that sleeping glen:
“I’ll reign again o’er endless summer days.”

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